Movin’ on Out

Almost 60 years ago, in a quiet neighborhood on the north side of Richmond, a group of neighborhood friends had a Mickey and Judy moment and said “Hey, let’s put on a show.”

And thus, with the production of Tennessee Williams’ “You Touched Me!” Chamberlayne Actors Theatre was born. For the next fifty-six years, CAT would produce theatre in a small community association building. Around twenty years ago, CAT went from amateur to professional.

I made my first professional appearance on the stage there in 2013 with a small part in Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” I still get grief from my castmates for not bringing the boat back on time.

Seven years later, I serve on the Board of Directors and am now the Managing Director of the theatre.

In a story that will be written elsewhere, the facility on the north side of Richmond will no longer be our home as of September 30.

It’s a move that’s been a long time coming. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get varying reasons for the

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The short version is that it’s a matter of survival. Thanks to COVID-19 we could keep paying rent on a building we can’t use, thus depleting our bank account or, we could walk away with funds in the bank that will allow us to reopen in a new, and improved, location in a post-pandemic world.

You can figure out the choice we made. We think it was the right one.

It’s just another one of those things you can attribute to 2020. Although in fairness, this had been building for a while.

I’m not sure what things will be like in a post-pandemic world.

I can hope well be nicer. I can hope we’ll be better at appreciating the small things, the simple things.

I can hope.

Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. We raised our flags, donated blood, filled our churches.

We said we would never forget. We said we would never be the same.

And then, once we got used to the white zones being for loading and unloading only, we went back to our lives as usual.

Not everyone, of course. We went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq and thousands of lives were disrupted with questionable results. You’ll have to look elsewhere for that commentary.

I think what I’m getting at is that we think about those things that will “change us forever.”

The War to end all Wars…

The Second War to end all Wars…

The assassination of a President.



And now, COVID.

Each different in their own manner. Each causing years of argument and speculation about what went wrong and what went right.

And at the very core, we’re still the same people.

Flawed. In need of redemption.

And in need of being a little nicer to one another.

I have long thought that the Interwebz were both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because we can do amazing things that we never could before. Earlier this summer we held a virtual college class reunion and our classmate who currently lives in Singapore was able to join us when making the trip back to Kentucky for the weekend would have been next to impossible.

A curse because we’re likely to say things from behind a keyboard that we may or may not say to someone’s face. I can type an argument with the best of them. And, before the Interwebz, I played some hardball politics in DC.

So, it’s a matter of what we do with the tools and information we have.

For the theater it was a matter of considering resources at hand. We made choice.

For each of us we can look at the good or damage we can do online. We can share that meme, or we can scroll on by.

Scrolling is highly recommended.

But, when we come out of this, and we will, let’s not have wasted this time.

Let’s use it to think about what is really important. Let’s use it to build, not tear down, relationships.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to value people for who they are and not dismiss them because of their politics, their religion, or heaven forbid, their preference in music.

A boy can dream. When he has time.

Right how he has to go move a theater.


Back to School…or not…

We are on day 175 of 15 days to slow the spread.

It was perhaps one of the greatest challenges in our nearly 34 years of marriage. Well, other than the time we tried to rearrange the furniture in our two-bedroom apartment.

After weeks of webinars and trainings and more stress than you can shake a stick at, cast a spell over, or auction on eBay, Chesterfield County schools opened online yesterday.

Until they didn’t.

Early yesterday morning teachers across the county, along with some 60,000 students tried to log in to virtual learning, but the system crashed.

So, being the compassionate and understanding husband that I am, I wanted to be supportive and understanding.

I also wanted to go into the other room and laugh hysterically.

Of course it crashed. Not only were they asking the system to do more work with more people than in the history of the Innerwebz, but it’s 2020 after all.

By mid-day, most of the system was up and running and we were back at normal stress levels.

Then again, there’s nothing normal about stress levels in 2020.

And no, it really wasn’t funny.

I suspect that somewhere in the world of school administration at least one person asked yesterday “how

Available in The Write Side Shop (click the pic).

long do we have to do this?”

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty much done with the whole pandemic thing.

At the same time, I will admit that I’ve settled into a routine.

I’m up between 5:00 and 6:00 every day. Some days by choice. Most days because my back just can’t stay in bed any longer.

I do my reading in The Daily Bible. I’m reading all the way through chronologically this year. I just got to Job, or roughly 2020.

Then I usually head to the gym and come home and get on with the day.

I have to admit that this is comfortable.

But, even as an introvert, I miss people.

I miss theater, and amusement parks, and restaurants, and more.

And I hate wearing a mask.

Hate, hate, hate it. But I wear it. Not because I believe in the efficiency of masks. I will admit to being skeptical. But I wear it to make you comfortable.

Yesterday I was in Wawa behind a woman, I’d call her Karen but my friends named Karen are a little offended by that. Still, by just that reference, you know what I mean.

She was checking out and asked the clerk, “I thought you were supposed to wear masks. That guy in front of me wasn’t wearing a mask.”

The clerk rather nervously explained that while masks were required, they couldn’t ask because someone might have a medical issue.

There was no sign that the young man in question had a medical issue. True, you never know.

But, Ka…I mean this lady, was holding up the line. There were at least six people behind me.

None of us really cared that the guy who was already back in his vehicle was not wearing a mask.

Where am I going with this?

We’re all stressed. We’re all frazzled.

Be a little, or a lot, nicer to people.

When the internet crashes on the first day of school, be willing to open the wine. At the end of the day, of course.

When someone isn’t wearing a mask, don’t call them out. You have no idea what’s going on.

And don’t get me started about social media. The unfollow and snooze buttons are your friends.

Things are tough all over. We need to take better care of each other.

As much as we’d all like things to change, this isn’t going to be over any time soon.

There will be more internet crashes.

There will be more Ka….er…ladies who feel called to be the mask police.

We can’t fix them or control them. But we can control our reactions.

Bit by bit. One by one.

That’s how we get out of this.

Is it Friday yet?